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Old 29.12.2015, 08:07
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Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

There was a time when I would never consider a car with an engine size smaller than 1.6l, but having started to look for another car, I cant help but notice that many manufacturers offer several small mid-size models with 1.2l engines.

With improvements in engine efficiency, are these now, equivalent of a 1.6l engine?

For example, a Dacia Dokker (similar in size and weight to my current Kangoo) comes equipped with a 1.2l turbocharged petrol engine, developing 115bhp (I assume a Renault block) - which is 20bhp more than the published output of the 1.6l 16v engine in my 10yr. old Kangoo.

As the bulk of my driving is local and round trips up to 200km (although excursions into neighbouring countries and possibly back to Blighty have to be considered, too), is a 1.2l engine car really suitable for my needs?


N.B. the Dacia Dokker is a serious possible contender, if the engine is up to the job and the turbo isn't made of paper; - not too big or complicated for the missus (similar to what we already have), new(ish) car for not too much outlay (I resent tying up loads of money in something that I just need to perform a function, especially with kids and pets).
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Old 29.12.2015, 08:17
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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With improvements in engine efficiency, are these now, equivalent of a 1.6l engine?
it will be more efficient, on paper. in practice, it will use the same amount of fuel or more.

ps. in case of a Dacia Dokker, I would write that "a friend" is considering such a car
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Old 29.12.2015, 08:47
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

We went from a 2L to a 1.4L turbo and a bigger car (seven seater).

I can only say that the performance is better with the smaller engine.

We've driven down to the South of Italy, France and and the U.K. many times - that's with two adults, three kids and either luggage or camping gear and a roof box too.

Obviously we can't keep up with the Merc and Audis on the unrestricted German autobahns but we don't use them that much.

So, a modern 1.2L turbo should be fine (IMO).
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Old 29.12.2015, 08:49
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

Can´t comment on Dacia or 1.2 but I have a regular 1.4 and am very happy with it. Sufficient power for me and it doesn´t take as much petrol as my previous 1.6 did (but then that was a quattro)
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Old 29.12.2015, 09:37
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

My 1.6 golfmk4 is way underpowered . 140kph at 4500rpm and having trouble going faster. in CH it is powerful enough but it is not a highway cruiser.
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Old 29.12.2015, 10:01
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

GOOD NEWS! It's the new Darcia Dokker!
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Old 29.12.2015, 10:04
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

I had the 1.0l focus which gives 125bhp and it was a cracking engine
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Old 29.12.2015, 12:26
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

I have a 1.4Turbo Megane and it is fine on the road.
But as people wrote the fuel consumption is more related to driving style and type of use.
The fuel performance is less than 1L per 100Km different from my 2.4Turbo Chrylser although it has only 130BHP versus 240 in the Chrysler.
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Old 29.12.2015, 12:36
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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not too big or complicated for the missus (similar to what we already have), new(ish) car for not too much outlay (I resent tying up loads of money in something that I just need to perform a function, especially with kids and pets).

The Euro NCAP test gave Dacia Lodgy (a related vehicle) 3 stars only.
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Old 29.12.2015, 13:27
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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The Euro NCAP test gave Dacia Lodgy (a related vehicle) 3 stars only.
To be fair it's worth mentioning that it mostly scored low in the pedestrian and "Safety Assist" categories, largely due to missing extra options given the budget category of the car. It did score relatively well in the more important "Adult Occupant" and "Child Occupant" categories.

To get back to the original question, yes, new smaller engines are just as good (someone else mentioned the ford ecoboost 1.0l engine which is the best in this category). One should look at the HP and torque figures and the total car weight to get a feel for how powerful the car will feel, rather than looking at the engine size
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Old 29.12.2015, 16:47
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

Can't comment on what a petrol smaller engine is like, but we found our 1.6l diesel Qashqai to be way more powerful than the previous 2.0l petrol engine Qashqai we had. The OH was worried that we'd ordered a car with a not powerful enough engine, but it's great.
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Old 29.12.2015, 16:48
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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Can't comment on what a petrol smaller engine is like, but we found our 1.6l diesel Qashqai to be way more powerful than the previous 2.0l petrol engine Qashqai we had. The OH was worried that we'd ordered a car with a not powerful enough engine, but it's great.
Probably more to do with the torque than the power.
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Old 29.12.2015, 17:10
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

Pulling a trailer (or caravan) will soon destroy the engine so if you're not going to do that then a 1.2l would be ok (check the ones going cheap after a couple of years with tow-bar on autoscout).

Twin-turbo is the better option. You will see many which have small engined as you mentioned the Dacia Dokker (Renault) which has a fantastic small one, bear in mind that Renault make engines for the Mercedes A class (and F1 Red Bull!) so highly recommended if you're not towing.
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Old 29.12.2015, 17:20
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

I didn't know what a Dacia Dokker was and looked it up in Wikipedia. I was surprised by the 0 to 60 time for the 1.2l turbo of just over 10 seconds. That's pretty sprightly for this type of vehicle (and much quicker than the other engine options).
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Old 29.12.2015, 23:24
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

We drive a Skoda 1,2 liter Fabia II automatic. It is now 2 years old, 35'000 km, and is a superb car. It is based on the VW Polo, but is much cheaper. We found a garage near Lucerne giving 30% discount on all new orders. PM if you want details.
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Old 30.12.2015, 12:59
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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Probably more to do with the torque than the power.
Rough approximations
A (modern) petrol engine produces peak torque (lbft) roughly equal to its peak power (PS)
A (modern) diesel engine produces peak torque (nm) roughly double to its peak power (PS)
There are 4nm for every 3lbft

In other words - a diesel with 200ps will have the "pull" of a 300ps petrol - in normal everyday use.

(If you use the full rev range the diesel will be slower but for an average driver they'll notice little difference. Modern turbos are also now having higher torque figures so the above is changing slightly. In a recent drive I found a 150ps turbo engine (petrol) to feel sluggish when pulling in 6th gear on the motorway - noticeably down on the 130ps diesel I had been driving earlier.)

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Pulling a trailer (or caravan) will soon destroy the engine so if you're not going to do that then a 1.2l would be ok (check the ones going cheap after a couple of years with tow-bar on autoscout).
Trailer pulling has more to do with the torque curve, gear ratios and not riding the clutch. I'd not be expecting a 1.2l to have an official towing weight much about 1200kg anyway, so I can't see towing will kill the engine. Most towing damage happens in the clutch and gearbox - normally when the oil gets too hot.

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Twin-turbo is the better option. You will see many which have small engined as you mentioned the Dacia Dokker (Renault) which has a fantastic small one, bear in mind that Renault make engines for the Mercedes A class (and F1 Red Bull!) so highly recommended if you're not towing.
Less said about Renaults F1 turbo engines the better with regards to Red Bull

Twin-turbo tend to expensive and complex - BMW moved away from them and now use twin-scroll turbos, although the M550 does use a triple turbo diesel engine (380ps/740nm). Porsche use variable vane turbos.

For towing, a decent size of diesel engine with an automatic box is now the best combination.
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Old 30.12.2015, 13:09
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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Rough approximations


For towing, a decent size of diesel engine with an automatic box is now the best combination.
Why?

So you can spend more in regards to fuel consumption and will cost you more to put right if it goes tits up.
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Old 30.12.2015, 15:12
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

You should also consider the VW Polo 1.2 TSI BMT with BlueMotion (start-stop system). My brother (much older than me) chose it for me (Jahreszahl/millésime 2014) because he thought it's one of the most fuel efficient cars on the market. The car drives great, the engine is powerful (105 hp), has excellent gas mileage and doesn't need much maintenance. After 2 years, it still looks like a brand new car (I don't drive it that often as I have a GA/AG).
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Old 30.12.2015, 19:07
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

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Why?

So you can spend more in regards to fuel consumption and will cost you more to put right if it goes tits up.
Not at all. Modern automatics (especially the 8sp ZF box) are better than manuals on fuel.

As for towing the biggest challenge is pulling away - especially on a hill. With a manual gearbox you feed the torque in by modulating the clutch and revs - with an automatic the gearbox does the job - the torque converter feeding in the right torque for the situation.

The best example this is the Land Rover Discover - 3.0 diesel putting out 256ps and 500nm - fed through an automatic box (now 8sp - but earlier ones had 6). It tows easily - it climbs hill easily. It pulls away on hills without fuss. (I towed 2600kg 1300km with one)

modern-1-2l-petrol-engines-up-job-img_0897.jpg

The other way to tow big stuff is to use a van (as below) - it may have only had 122ps and 280nm but it towed big weights without issue thanks to a super low 1st gear. Although it would struggle to carry speeds up steep hills

modern-1-2l-petrol-engines-up-job-img_0894.jpg

The days of automatics being less reliable than manuals went out 20 years go.

It is horses for courses though - a chunky SUV with epic towing capability is not going to win an economy battle with a 1.2l family hatch.
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Old 30.12.2015, 20:52
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Re: Are modern 1.2l petrol engines up to the job?

TiMow never mentioned a desire to tow a caravan or trailer nor move large quantities of stuff so aren't the towing capabilities of any vehicles rather beside the point if this thread?

For his needs a modern 1.2l petrol engine should be absolutely fine IMO.
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